Adel, Part 2
We pick up with Adel again, and he and Ghalib meet for the second time. Oh, you poor, poor boys.
Not really. 😉
He was so lost in thought, he almost missed the door opening. But the click was loud enough to pull him back and he turned to see the very object of his musings step into the room.
“Oh! Ya sayyid, my apologies. I’ll come back.” Ghalib stepped back but Adel crossed the room in what could only have been a few strides and grabbed the door.
“No. Come in.” It came out sharper than it should have, but Adel couldn’t quite care. He was not letting Ghalib go again.
“Uh, I have other things—”
Adel shook his head, grabbed Ghalib’s wrist and physically pulled him into the room. “Oh no, you don’t. They can wait.”
“But—” Ghalib’s mouth snapped shut, undoubtedly at the expression on Adel’s face. Or perhaps it was the fact that he was grinding his teeth. It didn’t matter, Adel was simply gateful Ghalib stopped trying to leave.
“Good. Please, sit.” Adel turned and waved a hand at one of the chairs in front of the fire.
Ghalib blinked at him without moving for a moment. “Sit?” he asked as if he didn’t understand the word.
Adel stared in return. “Yes, sit. Is there something wrong with that?”
Adel sighed. “If you say ‘but’ one more time…”
“But you’ve got my wrist.”
Adel glanced down and smiled sheepishly. “Oh. Apologies.” He released Ghalib and stepped back, holding his hand out again. “Please.”
With a cautious glance at Adel, Ghalib moved over to the chairs and perched on the edge of one of them as if he might jump up and fly away at any moment.
Adel shook his head at the position and took the other chair. But when he opened his mouth to speak, he realized he had no idea how to broach the subject. He closed his mouth and considered Ghalib for a long time. Adel tried to ignore the thrill of seeing Ghalib again and instead focus on the problem at hand. Ghalib kept looking at him, but didn’t volunteer anything.
It took Adel a moment to realize why Ghalib stayed sitting on the edge of the chair and was keeping quiet. It wasn’t until he saw the slight shake of hand that he understood. “There is no reason to be nervous.”
Ghalib frowned. “You are not unhappy with my service then?”
Adel couldn’t help it, he laughed. “Hardly.” He mastered himself when he saw Ghalib’s frown deepen. “No, no. You have done quite well.” He paused and looked at the young face. “When we last met, something was wrong. Tell me what it was.”
Ghalib’s eyebrows scrunched together in puzzlement. “That is what this is about?”
Adel blinked and nodded. “Yes. I told you I would get you to tell me.”
The puzzlement turned into a scowl which amused Adel. He liked knowing he could get under Ghalib’s skin. “My apologies, ya sayyid, but that is none of your business.”
Adel simply grinned. “First, I told you to call me Adel. I do not wish to use the title. Second, I am making it my business.”
The scowl deepened and Adel thought he might have even heard Ghalib grinding his teeth, now. “Y—Adel, I do not wish to… trouble you. I assure you, it’s nothing that will impede my duties.”
Adel tilted his head. “Why ever would you think that’s my concern?”
Ghalib blinked at him. “Isn’t it?”
“No.” Adel shook his head. “Why would you think that?”
Ghalib pressed his lips together briefly. “It is what most of the nobility would worry about.”
“Ah.” Adel nodded. “I see. Well, it is not why I ask.”
“Then why would you ask? What would you care about a servant like that?”
“Let’s just say I do.”
Ghalib actually laughed, making Adel scowl. “You would only laugh. Really, it’s nothing to make an issue over.” He moved as if to leave and Adel stood up, then leaned over Ghalib, placing his hands on the chair, caging Ghalib in.
“You should not make assumptions, boy. Not everyone is as they appear,” Adel said in a low, dangerous voice.
Ghalib looked up, eyes narrow, obviously unimpressed. “I’m not a boy. You shouldn’t make assumptions based on appearance,” he countered.
Adel stared at him a moment then stood up and laughed. “Indeed, Ghalib, indeed.” He sat back down, still smiling. “Then tell me, first. How old are you?”
“I turned nineteen two days after the feast.” The words came grudgingly, as if they were almost painfully pulled fom him.
Adel bowed his head. “Allow me to apologize for my assumption, then. Now, what was the problem.? I am making it my business. I do not believe it was ‘nothing’ and I am not going to laugh.”
* * *
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